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Notorious film from early exploitation king Dwain Esper, who brought us such classic early titles as "Sex Madness," "Narcotic," "Reefer Madness," "How To Undress In Front Of Your Husband," and "Marihuana." Film's IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025465/
This movie is part of the collection: Sci-Fi / Horror
Producer: Dwain Esper
Audio/Visual: sound, color
Keywords: Dwain Esper; exploitation; mental illness; abnormal psychology
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Subject: First slasher flick?
Interesting old flick. Often claimed to be first "slasher" flick. Compared to the "prudery" of fifties, multiple bare breast scenes interesting. Make note of how when actor impersonates mad scientist, the actor actually impersonates mad scientist and does great job of make up to look like him. Usually in flicks like this, they just use original actor to play impersonated actor, as opposed to having genuine impersonation. Very transparently phony pretense of mental illness for exploitation film. Historically interesting, cinematically disjointed and some seemingly unrelated scenes and poor continuity. As being allegedly first of the "slasher" genre, I'm going to rate this one or two star flick generously at three stars. Fun for those into exploitation flicks, "historical" and one of the first.
Subject: Abnormal Psych 101
This film masquerades itself as a lesson in abnormal psych for the edification of its viewing audience. Over the top acting, bare breasts, and zombies make for quite a potent mixture in this early thirties exploitation thriller.
Subject: "Ballad of Sigmund Freud revisited"
"Dr. Freud, Dr. Freud, I wish you were otherwise employed" (from the song: "The balad of Sigmund Freud."
This movie is an interesting attempt at a melodrama on mental illlness in the 1930's when psychiatry was at the stage analogous to alchemy before it evolved into modern chemistry.
Rufus T. Firefly -
Subject: Phyllis Diller?
Did anyone notice that the opening credits include "Mrs Buckley - Phillis Diller?!"
Now I HAVE to watch & find her.
Subject: Lovers of WEIRD, look no further!
If the evil Dr. Clayton Forrester ever got his hands on "Maniac", and managed to show it to the captives on the Satellite of Love, one can easily imagine Servo, Crow, and Mike (or Joel) left completely speechless, watching in stunned silence.
However, Maniac is not as flat out awful as some would have you believe. Well, maybe it is. Ordinary aesthtics don't apply here.
Most of the principle actors seem to be competing to see who can create the most over-the-top performance, making long speeches that one might imagine coming from a Victorian stage melodrama. One actor literally beats his chest, and more than once. Other actors seem to mumble and stammer. Images from a famous silent movie (Witchcraft through the ages) are superimposed over the scenes to represent insanity. The "plot" seems like bits of Edgar Allen Poe and "Frankenstein" glued together with passages from old psychiatric literature.
But it's never boring, and Esper manages to create some genuinely compelling and memorable images, and to throw in some oddly low-key scenes of quirky, morbidly funny dialogue. Plus, there's NAKED TITS, a rarity in 1934, though they don't show up very well in this print.
If you have any interest in seeing old weird oddities, you can't miss this one.
Christine Hennig -
Subject: Diagnostic Criteria for Scenery-Ingestion Disorder
This legendary 30s exploitation flick is one ripe piece of cinematic cheese. It features one of the most over-the-top mad scientists ever, who gets killed early on by his assistant, who just happens to be a down-on-his-luck actor. Fortunately, we are not spared scenery-chewing, as the actor decides to take over the identity of the mad scientist, and shows himself just as capable of over-emoting as his mentor. The film also features scenes of cats fighting, weird montages of a laughable devil and his minions, a gruesome scene of the main character eating a catâs eyeball, and the obligatory exploitation scenes of scantily-clad women conversing and a fight between two women that involves pulling each othersâ clothes off. All of this is passed off as a documentary about mental illness by inserting title cards at random moments that spout psychobabble about various psychiatric diagnoses. For lovers of bad films, this is entertaining from beginning to end, as well as being weird as all get-out.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: *****.
This movie was not quite what I expected.Dwain Esper is a master of explotational films and this one ranks close to the top of his endeavors.It exploits mental illness and women.Nevertheless I did enjoy watching it.